Grade 7

How Friends Fit In

In this section, students explore their relationships with others. The activities focus on peer relationships and how peer pressure, influence, and acceptance affect their lives. There are also activities on refusal skills to help equip students with strategies for saying "no."

Activity 5: What’s Important to Me!

  • Skills: Understanding peer relationships/Dealing with peer pressure
  • Suggested Time Consideration: 25 minutes
  • Rationale

    Research shows that peer influence, or a child’s internal desire to be accepted, is a stronger influence of tobacco experimentation than overt peer pressure.16 Many young people will try tobacco because of the kind of reaction they think they will get from their peers, even if they don’t feel pressured by those peers.

    This activity will help students evaluate their need for acceptance or approval by their peers, as well as the need to be themselves.

  • Getting Started

    Share the digital activity link below with your students. Then, ask them to rank the importance of each item.

    Launch Activity

  • Talking About It

    When students have finished, ask them to read the following scenario silently as you read it aloud. Students will see it onscreen.

    Tyrell is walking home from school with a group of friends. In the past few weeks, some of them have started using smokeless tobacco on the way home. This goes on for several days, after which most of Tyrell’s friends have picked up the behavior. One day, Tyrell reaches into his pocket, pulls out a pouch of smokeless tobacco, and starts dipping.

    Tell students to answer the questions following the scenario. Then, lead them in a discussion of why Tyrell did what he did. Ask students:

    • Why do you think it was important to Tyrell that he try tobacco?
    • What were his motivations to use tobacco?
    • Do you think he would have tried smokeless tobacco if he had not been in that environment?
    • Do you think things changed for him (or not) in the group once he adopted this behavior?
  • Wrapping Up

    To wrap up, get the students to talk about priorities—what is most important to them—and ask them how being tobacco free reflects their priorities. Next, ask them how Tyrell might have been able to use his own “inventory of priorities” to think through his decision and choose to be tobacco free.